Brewing a Berliner Weisse

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by antlerwrestler19, Mar 6, 2013.

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  1. antlerwrestler19

    antlerwrestler19 Disciple (363) Nov 24, 2010 Nebraska
    Beer Trader

    Who has done it? What technique(s) did you use? Boil? No boil? What about sanitization/sterilization concerns? I really have not the slightest clue on how to approach this style, the steps to take, etc. Really I am a clean slate when it comes to producing this style. Help a brewer out! I'd like to make one now to have ready & fully developed for summer. I plan to split the 10 gallon batch to age some on fruit (Kiwis?).


  2. Hands22

    Hands22 Initiate (0) Oct 14, 2011 Florida
    Beer Trader

    I did a multi-step mash with a decoction. Since I didn't boil, I added mash hops (something really low AA and German, can't remember which off the top of my head). For fermentation, I pitched Whitelab's lacto and after a few days added kolsch yeast to finish. I split thd batch and added mango to half. Both turned out pretty well.

    I've never used kiwi before, but I've heard it takes a lot of them to get a noticeable flavor (see Upland's Kiwi Lambic).

    ACESFULL Initiate (0) Sep 13, 2011 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    I have brewed a few. Using a hybrid sour mashing approach. 1st batch was standard Berliner w/o fruit, went the syrup route. Overall happy with base beer but syrups didn't really do it for me (to sweet). 2nd batch brewed the same way and used 3lb blueberry & 2lb pineapple (juiced) in the keg. Came out fantastic much better then the syrup method.

    Here is how I do it. Mind you there seems to be many different ways to do it. No way am I saying this is the best method, its just the one that works for me.

    1st here is my grain bill.
    • 4 lbs 3.2 oz Pilsner
    • 3 lbs White Wheat Malt
    • 1.00 oz Hallertauer [4.80 %] - Mash 90.0 min Hop
    Now here is where my method strays from most that you will see. I mash for 90 min at 148F - when it comes time to latuer here is what I do. I have my standard plastic 6.5 gal bucket & a 5 g carboy. Now steps for carboy

    • Measure out 1lb of 2 Row or Pilsner Malt uncrushed
    • Fill carboy with blanket of CO2 (prevents funky nastiness)
    • Pull off about 1.5g of wort with your malt in carboy
    • Set carboy in an area when temps can be as close to 100F as possible
    • Wait 5 to 7 days
    • Blend back to finished base beer
    Now as you can see you arent doing a full sour mash but more of a smaller controlled one. This was one of my biggest concerns when researching this on how to make this beer without going that route. I like the complexity that a sour mash brings to the flavor profile of this beer. Lacto pitches I have tasted from other brewers just seems flat and 1 denominational.

    Once you have your 1.5 gal collected in carboy take the remaining wort and full up your fermentation vessel (I use plastic buckets for this). Pitch a neutral ale yeast. I use US-05 (Chico) for primary. Once primary is done 4 to 5 days you can then sample your lacto starter. By now you should have what looks like baby powder in the bottom of your carboy (dusty). Take a smell, what does it smell like? Anything other than sourdough bread you might want to think about pitching it and starting over. You dont want baby diaper, vomit or anything like that. Once you have that you can blend the beers back together to your liking. From there you can age the beer to the desired sourness or rack to a keg and add fruit if you want.

    Pour & Enjoy!
  4. DeutschesBier

    DeutschesBier Devotee (465) Feb 8, 2009 Maryland
    Beer Trader

    I did the no boil method 3 times now. This third batch is my best one yet, by far (although mostly because of how I treated my water).

    -3 step mash (decoction to hit the last step)
    -Chill to 100 degrees
    -Rack to carboy
    -Pitch Wyeast Lacto (I say Wyeast for a reason...I was not happy with White Labs)
    -Allow Lacto to do it's thing for 48 hours, keeping the carboy around 90 degrees (if possible)
    -Pitch Neutral Ale yeast, Brett, or both

    If you just pitch neutral ale yeast, you can bottle in 7-10 days and let it develop in the bottle for a couple months. If you add Brett, you'll obviously need to let it go longer.
  5. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Defender (688) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    Berliner Weisse Guy (14 SRM): 5#s Pilsner, 2#s wheat, 4 oz Midnight wheat, 1 oz Mt. Hood @ 15 min, WLP 630 Blend.

    brewed in late Sept., carbed at Thanksgiving...wasn't tart enough, been sitting in the keg in my livingroom since then. Just threw it in the garage and it smelled? a lot more tart when I vented it. May drink a little and warm it up again so I'll have some this Summer. Cheers
  6. jpeck13

    jpeck13 Initiate (0) Apr 28, 2011 California

    I've never brewed this style either. Do you think doing a decoction is necessary? Will a single infusion work?
  7. dachshunddude86

    dachshunddude86 Initiate (0) Dec 21, 2012 Florida

    Easy extract Berliner recipe:

    3 lbs breiss wheat dme
    1 lb breiss Pilsen dme
    1 oz whole leaf hallertau
    A hand full of base grain
    US 05 yeast

    I use an extract "sour mash" process. Dissolve the dme in 170 degree water, cool to ~110, throw in a handful of base grain (usually bound up in some cheese cloth or a muslin bag for easy extraction), purge the pot with co2 and float Saran Wrap on the surface to keep out as much oxygen as possible. Keep this between 100-110 degrees for about 3 days give or take some time depending on how sour you want it. A great way to maintain the temp is to keep it in the oven with the light on. When the sour level is to your liking remove the Saran Wrap and base grain and bring to a boil. Once the wort is at a boil add the hops and boil for 15 minutes. Cool and pitch the us05. The og should be around 1.035 with a FG around 1.010
  8. poopinmybutt

    poopinmybutt Initiate (83) May 25, 2005 Nebraska

    what does it mean to "purge the pot with co2"? also wouldn't wrapping it with saran wrap/using a lid be more effective at keeping oxygen out than just floating the saran wrap on it?

    i am also really wanting to do a berliner, one of my favorite styles for warm weather.
  9. dachshunddude86

    dachshunddude86 Initiate (0) Dec 21, 2012 Florida

    If you have a co2 tank use it to lay a blanket of co2 over the wort. Floating the Saran Wrap works well because then there is no gas between the Saran Wrap and the wort. The whole idea is you want as little oxygen as possible to try and discourage the growth of acetobacter (what makes vinegar) and clostridium (what can make a sour mash go all hot garbage on you)
  10. standardcherry

    standardcherry Initiate (0) Jan 17, 2011 Massachusetts

    I can vouch for this guy's method, he makes an AWESOME berliner. Seems pretty easy too, I'll be trying this recipe with some dragonfruit soon.
    dachshunddude86 likes this.
  11. dachshunddude86

    dachshunddude86 Initiate (0) Dec 21, 2012 Florida

    I wouldn't say awesome, but it does the trick on a hot summer day, or cool spring day, or snow day, pretty much any day. At ~3.5% abv you can drink it all day.
  12. antlerwrestler19

    antlerwrestler19 Disciple (363) Nov 24, 2010 Nebraska
    Beer Trader

    Been doing some quick research and found this on youtube -

    Coming from Jess Caudill, a lab tech at Wyeast, I think this is a nice reference.

    I plan to make a recipe that utilizes the best of what he mentions in this powerpoint. This is a new style for me to brew so I'm excited to see what will come of it. I will do a 50:50 wheat pils bill and go from there. Probably won't be starting this for another week or two but I'll update this thread with what I do.


    koopa likes this.
  13. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,593) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin
    Supporter Subscriber

    I boiled. I pitched a vial of 001 (I think) and lacto. Secondary on sour grapes w/ added grape juice.
  14. rmalinowski4

    rmalinowski4 Disciple (329) Oct 22, 2010 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    I use your process with a slightly different ingredient list. The types of DME are the same but I add some honey at flame out and use Saaz hops. After primary fermentation is finished, I transfer to secondary on fruit and add Wyeast 5112. The beer tends to finish around 1.002. Its dry, crisp, refreshing, and after a little time in the bottle, slightly funky.

    ACESFULL Initiate (0) Sep 13, 2011 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Only prob if you are brewing to style brett isnt not in Berliner's its a lacto only beer. Adding Brett to this will make it a wild ale and not a Berliner. Mind you this is only if you are entering in comps otherwise go for it.
    awlcordell likes this.
  16. Beerontwowheels

    Beerontwowheels Initiate (0) Nov 22, 2009 Maryland

    Paging : stakem
    FeDUBBELFIST likes this.
  17. bulletrain76

    bulletrain76 Zealot (579) Nov 6, 2007 California

    Brett is actually appropriately to-style for Berliner Weisse. Several of the Berlin breweries used brett when the style was in its heyday. We've been doing just brett and lacto in ours and it's actually working quite well. The Bruery also uses brett in their berliner.
  18. ryane

    ryane Initiate (159) Nov 21, 2007 Washington

    If you plan on adding crushed grain for the culture on it I highly suggest a mini starter

    Its not the O2 getting to the beer that causes gross flavors, its a bad culture

    when the pH drops the bacteria that produce off flavors die, leaving behind yeast and lacto

    By doing a starter of wort with some crushed grain the first time around youll likely get some off smells and flavors, but crashing this and adding to some new wort will let you select for the good bacteria and yeast you want
  19. DeutschesBier

    DeutschesBier Devotee (465) Feb 8, 2009 Maryland
    Beer Trader

    Slight Brett presence is fine in a Berliner, and perfectly to style. I know the Wyeast Berliner Blend has a strain of Brett in it that was cultured from an old Berliner Brewery in Germany.
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